The Prophet’s Wives Zaynab Bint Jahsh

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June 19, 2013 by theislampost

She was Zaynab bint Jahsh, a Mother of the Believers, bint Rabab Ibn Ya’mur. Her mother was Umaima, the Prophet’s’ aunt from the paternal side. She was called Burra before the Prophet married her. The Prophet (pbuh) changed her name to Zainab.

The Prophet (pbuh) betrothed her for his previous slave, Zayd Ibn Harithah (the beloved of the Prophet (pbuh). Zainab and her family did not like such proposal. But the Prophet (pbuh) said, “I like it for you”. She said, “O Messenger of Allah, I do not like it for myself. Moreover, I am the most beloved single woman in my family and I am your cousin. Thus I could not do that.” Therefor, Allah the Almighty revealed,

(It is not fitting for a believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger, to have any option about their decision: If anyone disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he is indeed on a clearly wrong path.)
                                                                    | al-Ahzab: 36 |

Thereupon, Zaynab got married to Zayd to obey the command of Allah and His Messenger and to be committed to the Islamic principle in which all people are equal. None can be preferred to another except by piety. The marriage however turned out to be unhappy. Zaynab the high-born looked down upon Zayd the freedman who had been a slave. And he Was not comely to look at. Both were good people in their own way, and both loved the Prophet, but there was mutual incompatibility and this is fatal to married life. Zayd wished to divorce her, but the Prophet (pbuh) asked him to hold his hand and to fear Allah although the Prophet had known previously that there must be divorce and he himself will be commanded by Allah to marry her. The aimed was to destroy the pagan taboo about adopted sons and superstition of erecting false relationships to the detriment or loss of blood relations. However, the Prophet (pbuh) would not want to tell Zayd or any other what the purpose of Shari’ah was behind such a marriage. He feared that the people, especially disbeliever’s, might circulate that Muhammad got married to his son’s wife thereupon Allah revealed,

(Behold! Thou didst say to one who had received the grace of Allah and thy favorer: “Retain than (in wedlock) thy wife, and tear Allah.“ But thou didst hide in thy heart that which Allah was about to make manifest:

Thou didst fear the people, but it is more fitting that than shouldst. Fear Allah. Then when Zayd had dissolved (his marriage) with her we joined her in mamage to thee: In order that (in future) there may be no difficulty to the believers in the (matter of) marriage with the wives of their adopted sons; when the latter have dissolved (their marriage) with them. And Allah’s command must be fulfilled.)

                                                                  |al-Ahzab: 37|

Al-Waqidi stated, this ayah (verse) was revealed while the Prophet (pbuh) was talking to ‘Aisha at home. Then, he had a shiver and then recovered and smiled. He said, who would go to please Zainab? Then, he recited the verse. When she was informed, she thanked and prayed to Allah.

Thus, Allah joined Zaynab (may Allah be pleased with her) in marriage to His Prophet (pbuh) without a bride’s guardian or witnesses. The contract of marriage was stated in the glorious Quran. She boasted over the other mothers of the faithful by saying, “It is your families who concluded your , marriage but Allah concluded mine from above His throne”

In another version, she said, “Allah” concluded my marriage in the heaven.” And in another version she said, “Allah concluded my marriage from above the seven heavens.” She also said, “I have the most honorable guardian; your families concluded your marriage and Allah concluded mine from above the seven heavens.”

She was righteous, pious and truly faithful. ‘Aisha ascertained that by saying, “I have never seen a woman who is better than Zaynab in religion, piety, truthfulness, keeping good terms with kinship relationship, charity, doing devotional work.”

She (may Allah be pleased with her) was generous, charitable she would tan hides and weave clothes to give them in cause of Allah to the needy and the poor.

When she died ‘Aisha said, “A thank-giver a devout and a haven of orphans and widows has passed away.” Then she said, “Once the Prophet (pbuh) said to his wives,

“The one who will die after me is the one with the biggest hand”

Then, afte r the Prophet’ s death we gathered together and extended our hands higher along the well. They kept doing that until Zaynab bint Jahsh died. She was not taller than us. But we realized that the Prophet (pbuh) meant, the long hand which spends charity.

Zainab worked for the poor, for whom she provided from the proceeds of her manual work, as she was skilful in leatherwork. She died soon after the Prophet (pbuh) The leader of the believers, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab prayed over her corpse. The people of Madina walked in her funeral until they buried her in Baqee’ . She was the first to die after the Prophet (pbuh) among his wives. May Allah have mercy on her.



  • AI-Qur’an AI-Karim
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  • ‘Ilwan Abdullah Nasih. Polygamy in Islam and the Rationale of the Prophet’s Marriage to More than One Wife, Matba’at Dar al-salam, Cairo
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